How to sell network monitoring to your CFO
Five ways to convince decision makers of the value of this business critical technology
As with many technology investments, selling the idea of network monitoring solutions to chief financial officers (CFOs) can be a challenge. CFOs are unlikely to be concerned with what they see as the IT department pleading for resources without any consideration for the return on investment, so itâ€™s important for IT managers to make the connection between network monitoring and the overall financial health and security of the business.
Think like a finance person
IT and finance leaders have the same ultimate goal - the success of the company. With that in mind, they should be working together to help the business move forward and it helps by having a grasp on their key concerns and priorities and understanding what perspective your CFO might be coming from.
For IT leaders to ensure their requests for network monitoring investment are heard and acted upon, they must speak the same language as their money men. Ensuring business continuity is a significant part of the CFOâ€™s job, but they may not fully appreciate impact of network failures on the companyâ€™s bottom line. Identify the more subtle sources of cost like the inefficiency of trawling through spreadsheets to find an IP address when a network monitoring solution could reduce this dead time by using an IP address management (IPAM) module. Youâ€™ll need the numbers if you are going to make a business case, so start doing your homework early.
Explain the costs of network failures and downtime
In 2015, a survey from Avaya found that network outages cost companies an average of Â£54,750 per year. The poll of 702 IT professionals in organisations with 250+ employees across eight European countries and found that 77% of them experienced a measurable loss of revenue as a result of network outages.
Besides the financial impact, network outages can negatively affect company growth and even result in job losses with one in five companies saying they had fired an employee for bringing down the network.
Another study by IHS, focussing on North American companies, showed even more losses, with $700 billion a year lost due to server, application, and network outages or degradations. The research found costs ranged from $1 million a year for a typical mid-size company to over $60 million for a large enterprise. On average, survey respondents experienced five downtime events and 27 hours of downtime per month.
Propose cost-effective solutions
CFOs may not necessarily be aware of how easily modern network monitoring solutions can be deployed and how cost-effective they are. To speed up decision-making and keep network monitoring top-of-mind, IT leaders should thoroughly research the solutions that are suitable to their company size and network infrastructure and present the best option to the CFO.
Explaining the scalability of proposed network monitoring solutions can also help sell them. CFOs are likely to be receptive to solutions that allow for future growth of the business.
Outline the benefits of Appliance based services and some Outsourcing
Appliances are a great asset for aspects of IT, such as network monitoring, DNS management, as they can lighten the burden on the in-house team, especially if the CFO thinks that the IT team can build everything themselves, and reduce the costs of the IT department as a whole â”€ something that will be of interest to CFOs concerned with cost reduction (so thatâ€™s all CFOs!) A trusted and reliable out of the box solution can save the department many man hours of internal development.
By outsourcing IT teams can save money in terms of the extra staff required to power an in-house solution. Freeing the IT team from hands-on responsibility of network monitoring also allows them to focus on work where they can be most effective and positively impact the bottom line. But security and flexibility must rule the decision.
Talk in terms of corporate compliance
Compliance is a key consideration for board room executives and anything that helps companies meet an increasing number of regulatory and legal requirements without a major ongoing cost burden is looked upon favourably by CFOs.
Network monitoring and reporting tools helps busy IT teams to extract data that enables them to evaluate their entire system to ensure they are delivering a secure and efficient service that meets all the required standards.
Putting yourself in the shoes of the financial director who may not share your passion for technology or indeed an understanding of what it can achieve in business terms will go a long way to building the case for investment in network monitoring. Donâ€™t forget, they rely on you to advise them on these investments so try and make it easy and embrace your inner CFO!
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